For the first time this season, Temple scored more than one goal in a game. Up until Wednesday afternoon, the Owls averaged .6 goals per game, with six goals in 10 games.
With a three-goal game, from three different goal-scorers, the team’s average jumped to .82 goals per game and nine goals for the season. The last time the Owls scored more than one goal in a game dates back to Oct. 21, 2017.
The offensive burst led the Owls (4-5-2, 1-1 The American) to a 3-1 victory against the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Wednesday afternoon in Hillside, New Jersey.
“I think our objective in all the games is to create opportunities to score goals, and we’ve had moments where we’ve looked like we can do that,” coach Brian Rowland said. “I think it was nice to finally execute on some of the chances we’ve created and certainly thought that was a good step in the right direction for us today.”
In the Owls’ scoring bonanza, junior forward Lukas Fernandes led the way with four points with one goal and two assists. He now leads the team in goals, points, shots, and is tied for the team-high in assists.
On top of his scoring plays, Fernandes sent in more than half of Temple’s total shots, including nearly 75 percent of the team’s shots on goal. The Owls ended the night with 12 shots, seven of which were on target. Meanwhile, Fernandes finished with seven shots, with five of those on goal.
“Lukas is showing a knack for creating and scoring goals,” Rowland said. “I think he was one who certainly raised the level and has been playing quite well, but I think tonight, he certainly was dangerous and I wanted our guys to be dangerous around the goal.”
Fernandes’ goal came in the 32nd minute and sophomore forward Justin Hahn earned the assist. However, the first goal for the Owls came in the 24th minute from a set piece. Temple earned a corner kick and sophomore defender Pierre Cayet headed the pass behind the Highlanders’ goalkeeper for his first goal of the season.
“I think Pierre has been a real key guy,” Rowland said. “It was good that he was able to get on the end of a corner and give us a goal from a set piece since that was something we’ve been working on.”
Senior midfielder Belal Mohamed also scored his first goal of the season. His came in the 70th minute from a Fernandes pass in the box.
The Highlanders managed to get one of their 11 shots behind junior goalkeeper Simon Lefebvre in the 75th minute. By the end of the night, Lefebvre made one save. The Owls limited New Jersey Institute of Technology to just two shots on goal.
“Our approach is to keep the ball so that we’re in control of the game and not defending,” Rowland said. “When we have good possession, we’re in control, and we’re not being forced to shift and do all the other defensive work.”
Temple will continue American Athletic Conference play coming off their first multi-point game. The Owls face Memphis on Saturday at the Temple Sports Complex and are looking to improve their 1-1 conference record. They are currently sixth of eight teams in The American standings and are tied with five teams that also hold three points.
“We’ve been playing well of late and I think hopefully this result today is just a further step in that direction and is something that will continue to give us confidence as we continue to grow and become a better team every game,” Rowland said.